Though, in January 1969, Cal’s TA union had narrowly voted not to strike in solidarity with the Third World Liberation Front, by mid-February its members had been radicalized by the policing of TWLF picket lines.
After 17 TAs were arrested on a peaceful picket line and charged with blocking access to buildings, the TA union voted to strike in support of two demands: “a just resolution of the campus controversy [over the TWLF] and of AFT demands [for union organizing rights on campus.”
The TA strike deepened the impact of the TWLF strike in a number of ways. First, whereas before the strike had depended on students not attending their classes, now the strike included teachers who pulled out of the teaching of their classes. Additionally, once the TA union decided to strike, the campus clerical workers’ union also decided not to cross their sister union’s picket lines.
The TA strike lasted until early March, when Chancellor Heyns issued an ultimatum threatening TAs who did not report to their classes with dismissal, simultaneous with a Senate faculty meeting that overwhelmingly passed a resolution in favor of establishing an Ethnic Studies department, and the union voted to end the strike. (Daryl Lambke, “Faculty at UC Berkeley Votes for Ethnic Studies Department,” LA Times, March 5, 1969, p. A28.)